I remember a few years ago when we started ministry in a red-light district. I hardly could talk, because I was overcome by emotion. The children in these red-light districts almost never go to school. These young adolescent girls are growing up and actually following in the footsteps of their mothers. I can’t imagine any young girl, at the age of just 12 or 13 living in a situation like that.
When we first started thinking about starting a ministry there, I learned that it’s practically impossible to even get into those areas to serve because they are restricted. But finally, with the permission of the government and other groups, we were able to start helping about 100 children in that community with education and provision. Praise God.
But then, the reality hits that what we have done in that one place is just a drop in the bucket—or maybe less than that.
July 30 is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. It’s a day to remember the millions around the world who have been sold or kidnapped and taken far from their homes, and who are exploited as slaves of one kind or another. The UN resolution declaring the need for this day states the necessity to, “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
Out of the prostitutes in that area I mentioned, I’m sure that more than a few were kidnapped or sold into their circumstance. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to imagine being forced into a situation like this. It’s a very difficult thing to think about; but it is good for us to take time to remember those victims of human trafficking, and let their pain and suffering affect us.
Slavery & Human Trafficking is a Reality for Millions of People
In honor of World Day against Trafficking in Persons, Gospel for Asia (GFA) released an in-depth Special Report entitled . I was surprised to read according to the special report that there are more slaves today than at any other time in history. But more shocking, are the heart-wrenching stories of those who are trapped in a life with no reprieve from unbelievable and oppressive labor.
When we hear about human trafficking, automatically we think about prostitutes, but according to one statistic in that report, for each person being sexually exploited, there are four more in forced labor.
My heart goes out to the children who have been sold into bonded labor. They are working from morning to night; some of them are just 4– or 5-year-old kids. If you search Google for children in bonded labor, you’ll see pictures of the children who work in rug factories or brickmaking factories, and other places like that. And when I imagine, What if that was my own grandchild?, it’s too painful to even think about.
And if that’s how we feel, how much more do you think the Lord cares?
How Do We Respond to Such Huge Need?
In the face of such huge challenges like these, how do we respond?
In situations like this sometimes, I can think—which I imagine you may also think to yourself: What more am I supposed to do?
Then the realization comes to me, interestingly enough, not so much that I must work harder or pray and fast more, although that may be very well be part of the answer, but that I am lacking in faith.
This is a spiritual principle. First John 5:14 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
And we know that prayers for the Lord to intervene and help victims of human trafficking are according to the Lord’s will. We know this because God tell us all throughout His Word that He cares for the oppressed, for the fatherless, for the brokenhearted, and He wants us to care for them as well and to be part of their redemption (see Luke 4:18-21, Isaiah 58:6-12, Psalm 82:3-4, Isaiah 1:17, Jeremiah 22:3). So we know He wants to answer these prayers on their behalf; there can be no question about that. We must hold on to that promise and believe that God will answer us.
We Must Put Our Prayers & Faith in God
But as we pray and believe and are waiting for God to answer, we must not be like the children of Israel.
God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. Then in Numbers 13 and 14, you read that the Canaanites heard about the Israelites coming, and they were trembling in their boots. But then the Israelites said, “We can’t do it; we can’t enter that land of giants.”
Why did they say that? They said it because God’s promise that He would give them the Promised Land was beyond their ability to reason.
The children of Israel saw the Red Sea part, they had the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, and God had promised them Canaan. Yet when they were faced with the “impossibilities” of entering the Promised Land, they forgot what God had done, and they had no faith. And so they could not enter. But you and I must not fall prey to that problem. We must actively embrace living by faith, not by sight, day after day.
And we can exercise faith as we pray for people involved with human trafficking.
Believe God to Help People in Desperate Situations
There is a report that just came through our office about a young woman named Sachi. She had a husband and two sons. The couple, however, had some conflicts and separated. Sachi’s husband didn’t send her money to help her take care of herself and their children, and she decided to start selling herself to have money to survive.
Then she attended a prayer meeting with one of our fellowships. The Lord touched her heart, and she told the pastor about her situation. He and a few believers began to visit her to encourage her and pray with her, and after a month of them praying and believing for God to work in her life, she stopped engaging in prostitution.
Sachi and her sons started coming to our church service there, and you know what happened as she and the believers prayed? After being gone for four years, her husband returned! And the Lord has brought that family to Himself. Praise God.
Pray for Those Being Trafficked
You and I, like the pastor and the believers in that church, can take some time today to pray and believe for God to work in the lives of victims of human trafficking, to set them free and to give them true hope. We know that the Lord wants to work on their behalf, and we can pray believing that we have received it, believing that as we pray those who are stuck in these situations will be set free by the God moving through our prayers. I think about those 100 children who we are helping from the red-light district. Now these children will have opportunities to become a teacher or a doctor or whatever else, and they will have hope.
Let us recommit our lives today to believe God to work as we pray and trust Him to bring hope to many more. We overcome the work of Satan and the powers of darkness by our testimony—by what we say based on God’s Word (see Revelation 12:11). And we choose to believe what God says.
around the world.